Thursday, July 1, 2010

ICU at The Royal Ranch

As soon as I walked in I knew I was missing a chicken, which is funny because with a dozen hens you'd think one wouldn't make a difference, but it did.  My little welcoming committee was smaller than normal.  I searched for her in the chicken coop, I looked for her in the barn, I looked for her everywhere...I even looked for the explosion of feathers; the telltale sign of a fox capture.  But no missing hen, I found her egg, but no hen...
So, I went to finish up my chores and start looking around the rest of the ranch for her, and that was when I found her in the water trough. OMG!  I mean Oh crap, did I feel like a schmuck, here I'd been looking all over for her and she was drowning in the trough!
Well, thank goodness I don't know how to give a chicken mouth to mouth, or I probably would have, because I thought about it.  I did put her under all except my very bottom layer of clothes to start absorbing the water and started praying!  Maybe that is why us mountain ranchers still wear layers in summer time, just in case they are needed to shed (or share) in an emergency, hmmm...
I was hoping that she'd warm up or die quickly, and she did neither.  She just sort of convulsed and shivered  for about a half hour while I wrapped her up and held on tight.  Tom finally found me and helped me down to the house with a crate, the hen and my soaked self and he got a roaring fire going.  Which is where I currently sit to report, in front of the woodstove with my hen in her crate; Royal Ranch's version of the ICU.
Amazingly, she made it through the night.  She must be one tough chick (sorry, you know me, I love a play on words!) to have survived her time in the tank!  Now if we make it through the next few days with no pneumonia, we'll be good to go.  Well, I better sign off now, my patient is anxious to get back to to the hen house and warn all of her friends about that very dangerous swimming hole!

A quick side note on safety here, I mentioned that we lost a squirrel in a trough a while back in another post, and after that drowning I placed a bent wire "ladder" over the edge of that trough so that a critter could climb out.  This trough that my hen was in isn't near any trees, so I didn't put one in it, now I really wish I had and today I will!  If you have any large amount of water on your property that a critter might not be able to get out of, take an old piece of fencing and put it along the side to allow a critter to climb up.  Obviously, I am learning this the very hard way, and am embarrassed about being dumb, but I do say I blog to help people, so I am putting this out there.  I feel about as tall as an ant today, let me tell you.

1 comment:

lfhpueblo said...

I have a question if you took chicken wire and bent a piece (that was long enough and wide enough) in the shape of an arched U, and put it in the trough,
would it have holes large enough in the fencing for the chicken's/animals to still be able to drink through.
Secondly would it be strong enough on the top of the U shape for a squirel or chicken to walk on if need be in the trough?
Just wondering, but I'm sure your idea of fencing to walk up and out on is excellent.